In January 1986, the AM V8, Volante and Lagonda received the Weber electronic fuel injection system to replace the carburettors in an effort to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. Yet the Vantage continued to be fitted with the four twin-choke, down draught Weber carburettors. The fuel injection technology of the time could not have provided sufficient power expected of the highest performance car of the range. First produced in early 1986, the final series of the V8 Vantage were fitted with the same 580X engine as previewed in the V8 Vantage Zagato and the X-pack was born.
First view of the X-pack was in the autumn of 1986 at the Birmingham Motor Show. This particularly early example of the X-pack in Chichester Blue still has the front indicator repeaters in mounted in front of the wheels, later cars had these repositioned behind. The wheels, now 16 inch in diameter were of a spilt rim design were made by Compomotive were fitted with 255/50 Goodyear Eagle tyres.
After problems with the original Compomotive wheels, splitting when hitting kerbs, AML initially switched to similar styles by manufacturers OZ Ceres or MSW (see left). Soon after, they then switched to the exceptionally beautiful Ronal with it’s concealed wheel nuts (right). Unfortunately the Ronal wheel is now long out of production and consequently they are of considerable value. A ‘look-a-like’ Ronal is now available from AM Heritage Dealers and is seen on many other AM V8’s as well as Vantages.
The heart of the series 3 V8 Vantage – the V580X (sometimes called X-pack) specification engine. Changes to the previous version include four 48mm Weber carburettors, Cosworth pistons, larger inlet ports and higher lift camshafts. With the air pumps needed to meet EEC emission regulations, peak power is in the range of 410 to 420 bhp. With an optional conversion from Works Service, which included big bore airbox and manifolds, straight through pipes at the back and the carbs meticulously opened upto 50mm, power was increased to 432bhp.
Here is a particularly unusual and probably unique V8 Vantage. This example was built not only without blanking plate over the grille but also lacking the huge front air dam. It could almost be referred to as ‘‘Prince of wales’ specification.
Between March 1977 and December 1989, the V8 Vantage was the only British member of the Supercar club. It may have weighed as much as a house (about 1800 kg actually) but could see off the skimpy Ferrari 512BB and Testarossa plus the Lamborghini Countach with aplomb and carry an extra two passengers.
The V8 Vantage pages have been written with the kind assistance of Kean Rogers of the Kangaroo Stable. For more detained information, please visit v8vantage.com